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Book cover of 100 Cupboards

100 Cupboards

by N. D. Wilson

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 320
Paperback
ISBN: 9780375838828






Available to Buy

Overview of 100 Cupboards

Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning . . .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room–with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.

100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson’s inimitable style.

Synopsis of 100 Cupboards

Twelve-year-old Henry York is going to sleep one night when he hears a bump on the attic wall above his head. It's an unfamiliar house Henry is staying with his aunt, uncle, and three cousins so he tries to ignore it. But the next night he wakes up with bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall, and one of them is slowly turning... .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers doors ninety-nine cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room with a man strolling back and forth! Henry and his cousin Henrietta soon understand that these are not just cupboards. They are, in fact, portals to other worlds.100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson's own inimitable style.

Children's Literature

AGERANGE: Ages 9 to 12.

One magical cupboard would be enough for a fantasy story, but Wilson offers his twelve-year-old protagonist an even hundred. When Henry York comes to stay with his aunt, uncle, and three female cousins in Henry, Kansas, after his parents have been kidnapped while bicycling across South America, he has hitherto "led a life that had taught him not to look forward to anything." But the same dreary landscape that launched Dorothy to Oz here introduces Henry to his uncle's schemes of selling tumbleweeds on E-bay, to the summer joys of sandlot baseball, and to the existence of a wall in his attic bedroom full of mysterious cupboard doors which turn out to be portals across time and space into the fantastic unknown. Wilson is a marvel at crafting delightful sentences, such as "The paint was scum brown, the sort that normally hides at the bottom of a pond, attractive only to leeches and easily pleased frogs." Henry is the perfect unlikely fantasy hero, a boy whose parents made him ride in a car seat until he was nine and gave him a protective helmet to wear in P.E. But it is hard to connect with a boy who asks about his absent parents, "Are they really my parents?" is told, "Nope," and then never asks anything about them again. Henry's journeys through cupboard after cupboard become tedious after a while, with too many magical vistas and villains, and the completely unresolved ending feels more like a cheat than a beckoning to read on through the proposed series. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.

About the Author, N. D. Wilson

N. D. Wilson is a Fellow of Literature at New Saint Andrews College, where he teaches classical rhetoric to freshmen. He is also the managing editor for Credenda/Agenda magazine, a small Trinitarian cultural journal. He lives in Moscow, Idaho with his wife and four children.

Reviews of 100 Cupboards

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Editorials

Children's Literature

AGERANGE: Ages 9 to 12.

One magical cupboard would be enough for a fantasy story, but Wilson offers his twelve-year-old protagonist an even hundred. When Henry York comes to stay with his aunt, uncle, and three female cousins in Henry, Kansas, after his parents have been kidnapped while bicycling across South America, he has hitherto "led a life that had taught him not to look forward to anything." But the same dreary landscape that launched Dorothy to Oz here introduces Henry to his uncle's schemes of selling tumbleweeds on E-bay, to the summer joys of sandlot baseball, and to the existence of a wall in his attic bedroom full of mysterious cupboard doors which turn out to be portals across time and space into the fantastic unknown. Wilson is a marvel at crafting delightful sentences, such as "The paint was scum brown, the sort that normally hides at the bottom of a pond, attractive only to leeches and easily pleased frogs." Henry is the perfect unlikely fantasy hero, a boy whose parents made him ride in a car seat until he was nine and gave him a protective helmet to wear in P.E. But it is hard to connect with a boy who asks about his absent parents, "Are they really my parents?" is told, "Nope," and then never asks anything about them again. Henry's journeys through cupboard after cupboard become tedious after a while, with too many magical vistas and villains, and the completely unresolved ending feels more like a cheat than a beckoning to read on through the proposed series. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.

Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.

Henry York, a typical, overprotected East Coast boy, is sent to live with his aunt, uncle and cousins after his journalist parents are kidnapped in South America. Henry lands in Kansas and reconnects with his three girl cousins on their farm in the heartland. Aunt Dottie and quirky Uncle Fred are well-meaning and set out to make Henry feel at home. On one level this is a coming-of-age story for Henry, who learns to play baseball and relate to his new circumstances. On another level it is the fantastical story of cupboards that are portals to other worlds, an evil witch out to drink Henry's blood, and the discovery that the kidnapped journalists are not really his parents. Henry learns about imagination and taking charge from his cousin Henrietta, who becomes his partner in solving the mystery of the cupboards. The concept and story line are interesting, but things get disjointed for listeners when Henry and Henrietta begin to explore other worlds through the portals. Too many new facts, characters, and terms are introduced without context and without being properly woven into the story. With the written version of this book, readers are able to go back and reread passages to help make sense of new twists in the plot. This is harder to do with an audio book. Henry is a likable boy but does not make a strong impression on listeners. This unabridged audio book features five compact discs; listening time is approximately six and one-half hours. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7- Henry York, 12, discovers 99 different cupboard doors hidden behind the plaster in his attic bedroom, and one in the room that belonged to his deceased grandfather. Henry's not particularly brave; in fact, he has only recently stopped wearing a helmet to P.E. class. Nevertheless, he opens some of the doors, only to become more and more puzzled. One of them, for example, opens into a forest, and behind another, mail is delivered. Henry's nagging cousin Henrietta wants to explore further and decides to open a menacing black cupboard door. When he discovers her face-down with her ice-cold arm in the grip of someone inside the cupboard, the boy and his family are unwillingly pulled into a life-or-death adventure. While the first part of the book may seem slow to those thinking the title indicates an immediate portal into different realms, fans of dark fantasy will be intrigued by the unknown realities awaiting these unsuspecting people. The characters are especially memorable, with Henry's seemingly clueless Uncle Frank, whose laid-back style offers wit and energy, standing out most of all. The story is well crafted and gratifying but the resolution may prove challenging for some. Unanswered questions lead into the next book in the series.-Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL

From the Publisher

“Well crafted and gratifying.”—School Library Journal

“A highly imaginative tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

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